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Deadpool 2

Since 1991, the Marvel comic anti-hero Deadpool has been a success. Offering frequently foul-mouthed monologues whilst battling a litany of villains, the character has found his own niche in the over-crowded superhero market. The 2016 ‘Deadpool’ film showed how popular he was with box offices flowing in rivers of dollars. Perhaps his unpredictable ways provide an antidote to the usual stoic heroism elsewhere. ‘Deadpool 2’ conjures another serving of subversive fun with Deadpool’s quips just as lethal as his fists.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is in a tight spot. Doing his best to save the world as the spandex wearing Deadpool, Wade’s current situation tests his mettle. Learning that Russell (Julian Dennison) has powerful supernatural abilities, Wade sets out to create a team for protection. That’s easier said than done when dangerous time-traveling mutant Cable (Josh Brolin) lands on his doorstep. Chaos swiftly follows as Wade dons the Deadpool outfit once again to fight for justice in his own peculiar fashion.

Deadpool fans should find much to enjoy in his latest caper. Whilst just as outrageously fun as its forebear, ‘Deadpool 2’ also charts new waters. Exploring the character’s amorality, the plot forces him to confront his choices. His teaming with Russell gives it an almost father/son relationship with Deadpool forming his own moral code as a consequence. That only scratches the surface of ‘Deadpool 2’s’ screenplay which has more depth than previously.

Although a darker entry, ‘Deadpool 2’ still has an abundance of high-octane action. All are spectacularly realised with the lashings of humour arriving thick and fast. Reynolds and his co-stars enter in the spirit of heightened reality with glee as the eye-popping cinematography succeeding in bringing the comic-book hero to life. Director David Leitch adds new beats to the formula and doesn’t rest on his laurels. He makes the most of the crazy situations with his eye for striking escapades clearly seen.

On a par with the first entry, ‘Deadpool 2’ delivers. Whilst the welcome mat used to greet the glut of superhero movies is looking pretty haggard, ‘Deadpool 2’ provides freshness amongst the crowd. The edgy escapism offers a good contrast to other safer heroes ensuring ‘Deadpool 3’ will likely burst onto screens soon.

Rating out of 10: 7

Crooked House

Despite endless denials, people love a good murder. This is especially true with a plethora of murder mystery books and films to delight our apparent blood-thirstiness. One of the Queens of crime is Agatha Christie, whose novels are continually adapted decades after their publication. There’s something about the quaint genteel Englishness of her work that appeals. With a cup of tea and scone readily replaced by a dagger or gun, death is never far as ‘Crooked House’ proves.

Private detective Charles Hayward (Max Irons) has his work cut out. Returning from Cairo to London to set up business, his current assignment finds him investigating a murder. When a wealthy and ruthless tycoon is found poisoned, Charles is tasked by the family to solve the crime. Among the suspects are Lady Edith (Glenn Close), Madga (Gillian Anderson) and Sophia (Stefanie Martini). Attempting to put together the scattered clues, Charles’ life swiftly becomes perilous as the killer lurks in the shadows.

Despite being released into cinemas, ‘Crooked House’ has a ‘small-screen’ feel. Unlike the recent adaptation of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, ‘Crooked House’ doesn’t broaden the canvas beyond that of a TV production. Maybe that’s due to lack-lustre direction or an overly long script, but ‘Crooked House’ doesn’t capture attention as it should. Padding is evident throughout even if the excellent cast give it their all.

One of the ‘delights’ of Christie’s mysteries is seeing how her wealthy characters are miserable. In spite of their money, their chaos rather than joy is effectively conveyed by ‘Crooked House’. Due to fine performances, the characters are as interesting and complex as needed with the killer’s reveal a genuine surprise. The scenery also can’t be faulted with the English countryside lovingly rendered by fine cinematography.

‘Crooked House’ is a reasonable Christie adaptation without being dazzling. The low-key story seems suited to the small-screen than its bigger counterpart. It’s pleasing that more faithful adaptations of Christie’s works are being made with her murderous imagination keeping viewers guessing until the end.

Rating out of 10: 6